International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: Nicosia FIR

European air traffic warned over Syria strikes

EASA are warning of possible air strikes into Syria being launched from locations within the LCCC/Nicosia FIR over the next 72 hours (Apr 11-14).

Eurocontrol have published a ‘Rapid Alert Notification’ on their website, with a statement from EASA that reads:

“Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area.”

Very few commercial flights operate over Syria, and authorities in the US, UK, France and Germany have all previously issued warnings for Syrian airspace.

But many airlines regularly transit the LCCC/Nicosia FIR: there are frequent holiday flights to the main Cypriot airports of LCLK/Larnaca and LCPH/Paphos; overflight traffic from Europe to the likes of OLBA/Beirut, OJAI/Amman and LLBG/Tel Aviv; as well as traffic from Istanbul heading south to the Gulf and beyond.

Last year, two US warships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles at an air base in Syria after a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime killed more than 80 people.

This week, following another suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government against civilians in a rebel-held town in Syria, the US President Donald Trump warned there would be a “forceful” response. On Apr 11, he took to Twitter to warn Russia to prepare for strike on Syria:

For the airstrikes on Syria last year, the US gave Russia advance warning of the attack, and Russian forces opted not to attempt to shoot down the missiles using its air defence systems stationed in the region.

However, this time round things could be very different. This week, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon reminded the US that the head of the Russian military has said his forces in Syria would not only shoot down any missiles that threatened them but would target the source of the weapons as well.

The only US warship currently in the Mediterranean and capable of a possible strike is the USS Donald Cook, which left port in Larnaca and started to patrol in vicinity of Syria on Apr 9. According to some reports, it has since weighed anchor off Syrian territorial waters, and has been “buzzed” by low-flying Russian military jets.

Another 3 warships of the Sixth Fleet are already in the Atlantic Ocean, and on Apr 11 the entire US Truman Fleet (including an aircraft carrier, 6 destroyers, and nearly 6,500 sailors) departed Norfolk, Virginia, to head to the Mediterranean Sea. However, it may take up to a week for any of these warships to arrive.

Here’s an overview of US and coalition forces’ military options currently thought to be on offer in the eastern Mediterranean:

With the downing of MH17 by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine in 2014, as well as all the recent unannounced missile tests by North Korea, there has been increased focus by the aviation community on the risks posed by conflict zones. If any missiles are launched from the Eastern Mediterranean in the next few days, be prepared for possible last-minute reroutes, as any Notams that get published may not give much warning.

Further reading:

One of our biggest missions in OPSGROUP is to share risk information and keep operators aware of the current threat picture. Check out Safeairspace for the most up-to-date information on airspace safety around the world.

Earthquakes: Japan & Ecuador, South America – New Timezone: Midweek Briefing 20APR

Earthquakes: Japan, Ecuador 20APR Two large earthquakes struck Japan and Ecuador in the past week, with a longer term impact on International Flight Ops. RJFT/Kumamoto and SEMT/Manta are both closed UFN. Read full article.

South America – New Timezone 20APR In an unusual move, a new time zone will take effect in South America from the 1st of May. As part of a measure to battle an energy crisis in Venezuela, the entire country will change timezone from UTC -4h30 to UTC-5, to ensure more daylight in the evening when energy consumption peaks. Read full article.


 

EGLL/London Heathrow An A320 was struck by a drone on approach to LHR on 17APR. This is the first incident of its kind, though there have been many close calls to date.

FMZZ/Madagascar Cyclone Fanatala is currently north of Madagascar, the equivalent of a Category 5 Hurricane. It is expected to miss the island nation and the main airport of FMMI but the close proximity of the cyclone to the island may cause flight disruptions.

BIKF/Keflavik beginning 01MAY, BIKF will be imposing a new Terminal Navigation Charge. This charge is to be applied to all flights arriving at BIKF. The airport authority has issued an Air Navigation Chargedocument to assist in determining the impact of the new fee.

LTZZ/Turkey. We’ve been alerted to a change in Overflight Requirements – aircraft with M- and VP- registrations, and any other countries without a bilateral agreement, require an Overflight Permit. See the new Turkey Lowdown for full information.

TIZZ/U.S. Virgin Islands authorities, assisted by the FBI, began investigating reports of a plot to attack airports on the Virgin Islands, notably the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (Beef Island Airport). The U.S. Coast Guard first received information of a terrorist attack plot circulating on social media. The threat focused on Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport but also mentioned airports on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John as possible targets. No information is available on what level of credibility authorities attach to these threats.

EBBR/Brussels A recent report from the Brussels Airport CEO has stated that EBBR will be 100% operational by the beginning of June.

EDNY/Friedrichshafen will be hosting the AERO 2016 exhibition from 20APR to 23APR. There is an expected increase in IFR traffic to the airport during the event. Please refer to NOTAM C0933/16 for further details.

LCCC/Nicosia FIR due to a Russian Navy Exercise and rocket test firings in the Mediterranean Sea, there are NOTAM’d route closures for W/UW17 from BALMA-NIKAS, R/UR78 and M/UM978 daily from 0500-1500Z on 21APR and 22APR. The NOTAMS covering the closure are A0308/16 and A0310/16.

SBZZ/Brazil The Canadian government has issued a helpful health notice for crew/passengers planning to travel to Brazil for the upcoming Olympic Games, which has advice on how to contend with the Zika virus.

MGZZ/Guatemala Volcano Santa Maria has had some recent high level ash dispersed into the atmosphere up to FL250. The Washington VAAC provides advisories and forecasts.

ZBAA/Beijing is not available for Non-Emergency diversions or planned as an alternate due to gate/stand shortage daily from 13-23Z daily until 28OCT16.

VIZZ/India The Government of India has introduced the e-TOURIST VISA (eTV) scheme for UK nationals travelling to India. All guests travelling under this scheme must carry a printed copy of the approved eTV for verification at the check-in counter prior to boarding.

WSZZ/Singapore the CAAS has issued 2 AIP supplements outlining the upcoming military exercise Bersama Shield 16. AIP SUP 40-16 covers Kuala Lumpur and Singapore FIR airspace restrictions and AIP SUP 41-16 covers additional Singapore FIR airspace restrictions. The exercise will be running from 21APR to 28APR.

HSZZ/South Sudan The UK FCO has issued a travel warning against travel to South Sudan and in particular to Juba due to the return of the First Vice President as “tensions and disturbances” may increase across the country in the coming weeks.

FNZZ/Angola The CDC has upgraded the yellow fever in Luanda Province to an Alert Level 2. The government of Angola requires all travellers older than 9 months to show proof of yellow fever vaccination on arrival. In addition, CDC recommends that all travellers aged 9 months or older be vaccinated against yellow fever.

DNMM/Lagos a new protocol issued by customs and immigration officials is causing congestion in the arrival hall. There are 2 forms being given to passengers only once they enter the arrival processing area. Please ask your handler if these forms can be provided ahead of time.

View the full International Bulletin for 20APR2016

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